A BITTER feud between residents and a developer wishing to build houses at 'recreational land' in Weymouth has been reignited after new plans were submitted.

As reported, proposals to build six semi-detached homes on land between numbers 38 - 40 Overcombe Drive, Preston, were met by fierce opposition in 2019.

Developer Elite Homes submitted a revised application for four detached homes this April - and has since reduced that number to three, amid continued objections.

However residents say they will go to any lengths to stop houses being built on land that was set aside for recreational use when the estate was originally built.

Opponents say the proposed new homes, on the crest of a hill, would change the skyline of Weymouth - and that there is a public right of way footpath across the site.

However the developer has refuted this - adding fuel to the fire by suggesting those who use the footpath may be 'trespassing'.


Dorset Echo: The latest proposal is for three detached homes Picture: Dorset CouncilThe latest proposal is for three detached homes Picture: Dorset Council

At a recent Weymouth Town Council Planning and Licensing meeting, Preston councillor Tony Ferrari said: "The site is very small; parking will spill onto the road, and there is an environmental impact and surface water issues.

"The fundamental thing, that no planning application can deal with, is that this site has been left empty because it is on the crest line - and in the plans for when that part of Preston estate was built in 1969, was deliberately left empty. If we lose this we lose another link to the countryside."

Councillor Jan Bergman added: "I would object to this - originally this gap was left for the residents to have access to, and enjoy the countryside."

He cited planning considerations including impact on countryside, previous planning decisions, density of buildings and overshadowing.

Dorset Echo: Objectors say the skyline of Weymouth would be altered if the development goes ahead Picture: Dorset CouncilObjectors say the skyline of Weymouth would be altered if the development goes ahead Picture: Dorset Council

A raft of objections have been lodged on Dorset Council's website, and neighbours submitted photos of what is claimed to be an active badger sett at the site, as well as footpath signposts.

Dorset Echo: It is reported that there is an active badger sett at the site Picture: Dorset CouncilIt is reported that there is an active badger sett at the site Picture: Dorset Council

One Overcombe Drive resident said: "When I purchased my property in 1979, I was made fully aware that the land opposite was a green space in perpetuity... I will not let the matter rest, no matter how far I have to take it."

Another said: "Jordan Fields become waterlogged in wet weather causing flooding of properties... terraces and balconies (of the proposed homes would) overshadow neighbouring properties and cause loss of privacy and noise disturbance. The height of the proposed properties all break the skyline."

Another said: "No attention appears to have been taken (to) the Roman Jordan Temple nearby which has accounted for many finds of Roman artefacts."

Dorset Echo: The proposed new homes Picture: Dorset CouncilThe proposed new homes Picture: Dorset Council

However one neighbour said: "I fully support the building of properties on the waste land... people constantly moaning about others who are trying to improve Weymouth are NIMBYs."

There is disagreement over whether there is an official footpath across the land.

Documents submitted by the developer state: "...Paths over the site are not formally recognised. Given that it is within private ownership, this means that any users will have effectively been trespassing." However the Dorset Area of the Ramblers group claims to have carried out research that proves there is a public right of way.

Meanwhile electricity supplier SSEN objects due to one of the proposed gardens falling on land belonging to the electricity board.

At last week's town council meeting, cllr Graham Winter proposed that the Planning committee vote against the development.

"If we start agreeing applications on land that has been previously left as open space I think we are on a downhill slope," he said.

The Weymouth Town Council vote of objection was passed with a majority consensus. The final decision lies with Dorset Council.